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tv   [untitled]    May 24, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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you are college material. you are smart enough. you do belong here. with that, i would like to introduce you to our chancellor, so he can share more about city college's commitment to you. let's give him a warm welcome. [applause] >> thank you. so, a couple of years ago, i sat down with unified school district, city and county of san francisco, and we said, "how can we change the system in san francisco so that all of you can have the kind of experience educationally that you need?" we decided that the only way we could achieve this is that all the people on the stage have to work together because the students were telling us that we have failed them to a large extent. why?
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because many of us went to college perhaps or high-school too long ago. i was at uc berkeley in the 1960's as an undergraduate. so i had to look at that and ask how confused i was. when i look back on it, as everyone on this stage will tell you, their first stage was -- their first year was confusing, maddening. we were experimenting. we were experimenting perhaps with a lot more than you will be experimenting with. [laughter] nevertheless, we are here now. what is the common thread that connects all of us? college education. [applause] do not be fooled. do not let anyone tell you that without a college education, everything is fine. we are in america now. we are in international scene now that without a college education, you are nowhere in
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this society and going further down. i know you do not want to hear that because people think that other people did it. high-school would be fine -- high school would be fine. it would not be ok. the ok route is what we have to tell you about. you want to go someplace, your elders, people who have done it have to tell you the roadmap. you cannot invent the road map for yourself. it is our obligation to give you that road map -- road map -- roadmap.. frisco day is telling you, here is the first step. but that is not all of it. we have changed the system. we talk to each other, work
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together, make sure we are planning together and giving what you need. someone said you cannot go to college without help, and that is true. you have to have financial help, wraparound services, individual faculty and friends who understand your journey so that you can go along with them in that journey to success. without all of those things going on, it is very tough for most people. and what happens that is really detrimental for me and other people is you start thinking inside of your head and thinking you are alone, the only one experiencing this particular set of problems, and you are not. when you go to college, like everything else in life, you have to start networking. you have to start networking with your fellow students, talk to them. goethe your instructors and say to them, "give me some of your time. i want to talk to you." they will talk to you because at city college, that is what our mission is.
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our mission is to help students learn and be successful and create an environment where that is happening. and my office is open for anybody -- all of you at city college that if they feel they are not getting what they need, they can come to my office and talk to me directly. we have set up more than two dozen support programs here. it is there to help you individually so that you can be successful. do not be ashamed to reach out to us, to reach out to the people here for help. because we all reach out in our past for help, and there was someone there to help us. i guarantee you that nobody sitting here would be sitting here if they did not have someone that grab their hand and helped them -- someone had grabbed -- someone that grabbed
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their hand and helped them. college makes a difference in terms of your deciding that you are going to demand from the system what it is supposed to give to you. and the system must respond. if it does not, there are plenty of us here that will force that response. second is a discovery journey. you are on a journey to discover who you are. only you can actually do that. inside, there is something waiting to be opened up for you to show the world, for you to share with the world, and every one of you sitting here can be a success story. every one of you here is a success story, and it is our job for the self discovery. it is your job to have a better sense of who you are as a person, a better sense of what you want to do, and if we do not help you do those things, we have not done our job.
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it is not just about the math and science and english and so forth. it is about you. england had the wedding, and we have frisco day. [applause] now, the thing that i want to do is i want to introduce a man who i greatly admire, who has done so many wonderful things here in san francisco and who understands education. in fact, early in his career, the mayor was actually a member of the staff, maybe the director, of an upward bound program, and it basically is doing what we are doing today, which is to try to take high school students and get them into a college setting in a way that they can be successful. a number of years ago, he was having his own frisco experience, so i want to do -- introduce our mayor who is doing
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a terrific job, mayor edwin lee. [applause] mayor lee: good morning. i am glad to be here has your mayor and also to join this distinguished panel of people utilizing the funding opportunities from the gates foundation, working with our school district as well as our community college, and to talk with you today about my own personal experience related to college. just last month, i had a very special thing happened to me -- happened to me. somebody that i got acquainted with some number of years ago came to visit me in the mayor's office, flow all the way out from brunswick, maine. this gentleman was a high-school
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student that i had recruited when i was in college to be a student at the top were bound program that i was counseling at during the summers when i was in college -- at the upward bound program i was counseling at. i had an interest in that program because of the opportunities that i was lucky to have, being able to go on a full ride to a college all the way across the united states. i was born and raised in seattle, and this little college had recruited me. it was funny at the time because they were recruiting on the west coast, looking at me. obviously, i was asian, and they were suggesting that maybe my strengths were in math and science, so they gave me a full ride, thinking i was going to do math and science because i am asian. [laughter] after the first year where i
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knew i could do math and science because that was kind of easy for me, i decided i was not going to go that route. i change my career, and i had an opportunity to do that because i had a great institution to work from. in the summers, i stayed on the campus. three of the four summers, i stayed on the college campus because i really like working in the upward bound program where we were talking to high school kids, particularly low-income high school kids from indian reservations in northern maine, from the french-canadian border. a lot of kids were minority kids, and they never had a chance for anyone to speak to them about what it was to be in college and what it was to be even in the very expensive private college. one of those students who i went back to his house in northern maine one summer and talk to his parents -- talks to his parents
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-- he was a kid with five siblings. his mother and father were saying they could not afford for him to go to college. that was not in his future. it was my opportunity to speak with the mother and father to say, "give the kid a chance." their family was potato farmers. they were planting potatoes their whole lives. generations of that. if they got a job, their job was car mechanic or working in a restaurant. i worked with this kid, and he said i had to talk to his parents. i sat down, talk with his father -- talks -- talked with his father. he asked why i would want him to send his kid to college where he needs money and needs to be able to have a life of his own --
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what does college have to do with that? i said that i was going somewhere, and i was going to be places and my mind was open, and i think college is a good opportunity. after that meeting and after i tried to make an impression on the parents that it was the right choice to allow his son to make that choice, that father actually told the sun -- son that college was not for him. i had long hair. he said i was not even from the state, trying to convince him about a better life. an arrogant kid, does not know what our lives are -- an urban kid. but the son i talked to said he made his own choice. he said he was convinced that it
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was something that he wanted to pay attention to end date. he flew out last month to visit me when he found out i was mayor of san francisco, and he came in to my office just to thank me after 25 years. i had not seen this guy in 25 years. to say thank you. from those programs and the values instilled in me, like, out of -- he out of the five kids in this family was the first to graduate from college. his older brother and sister were still working for the car dealership. he got a great job and can afford to fly out to san francisco to visit because he has that kind of income and has a family. his younger brother and sister also went to college. they have lives that are better because of college. so i want to share that with you
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because it is unique in so many ways, but it is a personal story for me, too, because i was able to impact somebody that i did not know what their lives would be about. we all talk just about the college experience and what that means. all of you have in front of you an opportunity that will allow you to make choices. the worst life that people have in san francisco that i have known are when you do not have a choice in what you want to do or be, that you do not give yourself an opportunity to make a choice. the best lives are reflected in people who have choices to make, and i believe that when you have a college education and when you complete that, your choices will be numerous about what you want to do. how many of you tweet right now? how many of you use twitter?
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wouldn't you like an opportunity to work for that company? that product is made and engineered in san francisco. when i talk to the owners of twitter to convince them to stay in san francisco, i said i want those 3000 new jobs that they are going to bring to san francisco in the next two years. i want you to have an opportunity, those of you would like to have an opportunity to work for a company like twitter to be here because they will recruit from san francisco, but they will not recruit high school kids. they will not recruit people without degrees. for that recruitment. while i do that, i'm talking to you here today. do the smart thing. give yourselves a choice. the choices you have in front of you are choices you will make for yourself. you will have a lot of pressures that prevent you, whether it might even be in the case of the upward bound kid, inherit the
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says you have to make money now, or it might be a family member that says you cannot afford to go to college, or friends that ask what college is all about. you have to think for that mode for yourself -- for that moment for yourself. "can i make better choices?" i wanted to share that with you. i wanted to share with you that the students we talked to earlier today that now i get to make choices and a lot. every single day, i am making choices and decisions, but it is no longer decisions about myself. in making choices and decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of other lives, and i share this moment with you because i care about what you are about to do and the things you are about to experience. college is wonderful. it is those years when you start thinking about what you want to
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do, what you are all about, how you melt your culture and experience, how you give yourself an opportunity to change your career. does not even have to be what it is today. you might want to find out extra disciplines. the greatest jobs i have had is when i bring a different experience in. i might have been good in math and science when i started, but people wanted me to become a public servant because i had all these other experiences. being director of public works, being a city administrator, being the director of purchasing, director of the human rights commission, and being an attorney that actually sued the city before our work for it. i did not like the city when i started working for it, but i changed. i changed because i knew that i could be responsible for hundreds of other lives and make sure that their lives were improved by the work that i do in city government.
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you have an opportunity to improve your life, give yourself the foundation, get that college degree, get focused, and the best job is a job where you can help other people change their lives for the positive. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. now it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you the deputy superintendent of san francisco unified school district. let's give him a warm welcome. [applause] >> all right, is the class of 2011 in the house? [applause] that was pretty weak. let's try it again. class of 2011, are you in the house? [applause] all right, that is better. that is what i'm talking about.
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i'm just going to say few remarks, and then we have a video. our superintendent could not be here today, but he recorded a video he wanted you to see. before i do that, being in the room full of san francisco unified school district students, you are my peeps. this is what it is all about. i want you to look at everyone onstage today and think about the words of the chancellor, our mayor, and think about you have not heard from everybody up here. i want you to think about teachers and administrators and support staff at your school. every one of those folks has lived every reason that you have for not going to college. they have lived it. yet, they have gone to college. the message here today is you can go to college, and you need to go to college, and i will tell you why. when the mayor says that twitter wants to hire people that live in san francisco, he is
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absolutely right. but he does not -- they are not going to hire folks that do not have a college degree. if you think you cannot do it, you can do it. i should not be doing what i am doing because i am the son of a sheet metal worker here that is what my dad did. i should not have gone to college, but i did, and i am no smarter than many of you. in fact, i will work for many of you one day, i bet. what if i told you right now that i would give you $1 million? how many of you are up for that? we are not going to give it to you just yet. there is always a catch. here is the catch -- the difference in a lifetime of earnings between someone who gets a high-school diploma and gets an advanced college degree is about one -- $1 million. you may think that right now, you have to work, do not have time for college. you will earn $1 million more
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over the course of your lifetime -- we all have to work. by going to college. what i want you to think about today is the very first day of that million dollar pay check. right? we are going to get paid. i want to thank you for being here today. all the staff from the school district here, all the staff from city college, everybody from the mayor's office, thank you for making this day possible. i want you to take advantage, fill out those forms. i want you to know what is going to take to go to college because we want you to go to college. i would like to introduce two very impressive gentlemen who have also lived very impressive reasons not to go to college. so we are going to all step
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offstage so you can see this video. enjoy the rest of the day. [applause] >> hello, i am a graduate of the ball high school and and a current student at city college. >> i and the superintendent of san francisco unified school district, and we are here today to here todayfrisco -- to talk about frisco day and some of the opportunities you need to take advantage of to go to college. >> i understand you were the first in your family to go to college? >> my parents did not have a formal education. they migrated to the united states. my dad had only an eighth-grade education. my mom only finished elementary school. they did not know much about college. it was not like they could really help us with it. we were lucky we have counselors and different people who attacked us on the shoulder and asked if we ever thought about
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going to college or doing something. that was the first time we ever thought about it. we did not know what you had to do, and luckily, these people believed in us more than we believed ourselves. this woman said we were going to make it, we were going to be successful. it has never been easy because life threw us a lot of challenges. i understand you have had some troubles in terms of making a decision of having a family and then having to go back to work and still go to school. how is that working out for you? >> school has never been easy for me. it has never been my strong suit, to be completely honest. i also had to work while i was going to high school to try to support my family. i had a ton of excuses, and i certainly did use them, but now, i am at a different stage in life. i also have a daughter who just turned two. i need to get a degree i noted
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to get the job i want in order to provide and set that example for her. the rest of my family and community. i am trying to take advantage of the resources that exist, connecting with mentor's, being involved in programs that connect you with mentors. counseling. you are with a group of students for a year, so you get to build a sense of community, help each other out, keep tabs on each other, making sure we are moving forward and doing what we have to do. there are a lot of programs where you go in and see somebody who looks like you, and is also a student and will help you learn the ropes to get where you need to get. things like the latino service network. tons of tutoring for anything that you might be facing. taking advantage of what is out there is something that has really been helpful to me. and not being shy to ask
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questions and ask for help when i needed is one of the biggest things -- when i need it is one of the biggest things that i am working on now. >> here is an opportunity to not use those as excuses because we all have more than enough excuses of why we cannot do things. of course you can do this. if you are undocumented, you can still go to college. if you do not have money, you can still go to college. there are plenty of people to give you ideas for financial aid, how to take loans out, whatever. but do not use that as an excuse to prevent you from going on with the rest of your life an>>f you to take advantage of all the fr the upboundisc -- all the opportunities of frisco day. really take advantage, and i will be there at city college, so talk to me as well. >> we are all there to support
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each other. for those friends of yours that did not show up, please pass the word on. the job for all of us is to raise everybody up. that is not just about you or me or him. it is about everybody and all the young people who have such potential. we get everybody to go to college, think what kind of world we could live in. a lot smarter world where people are going to be better to solve the problems that my generation messed up on, but it is your turn now. step up and get here and take advantage, and above all, have a great time and meet a lot of new people. thanks. [applause]
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